Kamuzu Central Hospital children’s ward congested: Doctor faults ‘engineering model’

Kamuzu Central Hospital (KCH) has been hit by a congestion of patients especially in the children’s ward, Malawi News Agency (Mana) has established.

When Mana visited the hospital on Tuesday, it was discovered that three sick children were made to sleep across one bed in order to mitigate the congestion in the children’s ward.

It was further established that the hospital is forced to conduct roundups every morning in the ward, discharging those whose condition might have partially improved, in order to create some room for those who would be admitted later on during the day.

In an interview, Deputy Director for the hospital, Davies Mtotha, said the situation gets worse sometimes to the point of some children sleeping in corridors.

Children's Ward at KCH
Children’s Ward at KCH

However, he faulted the model of medical service delivery the country Malawi has employed which he described to be the root cause of the problem in all hospitals in the country.

“The biggest challenge we have in this country is that we have adopted what is called ‘engineering model’ of medical service delivery, where the human body is looked at as a machine and the doctors play the role of engineers and mechanics at a garage.

“What this means is that medical practitioners wait for people to get seek and come to the hospital where we diagnose them, treat them.

“Sometimes, we admit patients when their condition dictates, and then discharge just as a mechanic does with a car,” explained Mtotha.

He challenged that with this kind of approach in delivery of health services, congestion will always be there in hospitals because the root cause of the diseases that make the people go to the hospitals is not sufficiently addressed in their communities.

Mtotha also said the adopted Community Based Care, where medical personnel are deployed to communities to civic educate members on disease control, has also been compromised because even the health personnel in the communities sit at the health center and wait for the patients to come.

“The problem is that ‘engineering model’ is a philosophy which is instilled in the practitioner while in school and makes them believe that they are more of a doctor when in their offices at the hospital and not conducting civic education on disease control measures,” he added.

The doctor revealed that one alternative model is the Cuban model, whereby medical experts and specialists are posted in the communities from where the serious diseases originate.

Another one is the Chinese model, whereby human body, as garden, that needs to be fed, watered and kept safe and healthy at all times and mostly uses herbs.

Among other problems affecting the hospital are working materials such as surgical tools.

In a related development, Mana established that the surgical ward at the hospital is short of sutures, which are threads used to stitch patients after an operation and the hospital handles about 20 to 30 patients in the ward every day.

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